Director Hannah Price’s previous credits include productions of The Dead Monkey at Park Theatre and Boa at Trafalgar Studios. Now she returns to the Trafalgar Studios with the world premiere of Stephanie Jacob’s Again. She spoke to Love London Love Culture about the production…
Hi Hannah, thank you very much for talking to me. How did you come across Stephanie Jacobs play?
I have a great relationship with Steph’s agent who represents another writer I have worked with a couple of times, so I trust her taste which is lovely. I asked her if any of her writers had plays that I might be interested in and she sent me ‘Again’, with a note saying she thought the poeticism in it might appeal to me, and I might enjoy how surprising it is. She wasn’t wrong. I loved the play as soon as I read it, and was so excited by all of the possibilities it presents. It’s a really wonderful piece of work.
What were your first impressions of ‘Again’?
My first impression of the play was that it was very funny, and very kind. I know that sounds like an odd way to describe a play- but it really feels like a good kind piece of work. The characters are treated kindly by Steph, and given the chance to explore their most nurtured desires. There is a device in the play that I don’t want to reveal too much about, but it allows some element of trying again, hence the name of the play. This trying is very very human, and very funny and poignant. This device is also challenging and exciting for a director. I absolutely love plays that are surprising, and this play is definitely that.
What attracted you most to the play and what was the deciding factor in bringing it to the stage?
This is essentially a play about family. It is about how family underlines everything we do. We all have family in one form or another, and any long term relationship is made up of a myriad of moments that have formed that relationship. Steph describes this as being like sedimentary rock: layers upon layers of time and love, and fights, and hurt and happiness all sitting there as you pass them a cup of tea. My family is exceptionally important to me, and this bittersweet feeling is captured perfectly in ‘Again’. In fact you get to see it form within the fabric of the play. It was this that made me absolutely know I wanted to direct it. I’m so honoured to be trusted by Steph to do so.
How has it been working on the show so far?
Its been absolutely joyful. I have a wonderful cast who are not only talented and experienced but inquisitive and playful, which is what this play needs. We’ve also been lucky enough to have Steph in the room with us a fair bit which has been incredibly helpful. We are only at the end of week one, so we’ll see what next week brings, but I’m very happy with everything so far.
What would you like for audiences to take away from the production?
I’d like them to come away feeling like they should phone someone in their family. I want them to remember that feeling that only family can invoke: something more than nostalgia, something so strongly sweet and sad and happy at the same time. If they also laugh, and are surprised by the plays twists and turns, that would be fantastic.
How would you describe the show for potential audiences?
Its a funny, touching invocation of family, played out through some surprising and unexpected theatrical twists. Its brilliant. Come along!